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The Problem of Hope: Damien Atkins Discusses Beatrice & Virgil (Factory Theatre)

April 16th, 2014

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Beatrice & Virgil tells an allegorical tale about the Holocaust premiering at Toronto’s Factory Theatre

Yann Martel, the beloved Canadian author of Life of Pi, had a hard time writing his third book, Beatrice & Virgil. At least, if the story is as autobiographical as it appears — it follows an author struggling to complete a new novel after the global success of his bestselling animal allegory … sound familiar? — then we can believe it was a difficult journey.

And no wonder: Beatrice & Virgil is an allegorical story about the Holocaust, once again involving animals. There are easier subjects, and safer ways to treat them. Theodor Adorno warned that writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric, and here we have a monkey and a donkey talking about genocide. It’s risky.

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Ticket Contest Giveaway: The Memo

April 16th, 2014

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Mooney on Theatre is giving away a pair of tickets to a performance of The Memo at Unit 102 Theatre (376 Dufferin Street), on Sunday, April 27 at 7:30 pm.

To be entered into the draw for a pair of tickets just send an email to contests@mooneyontheatre.com with the subject line “The Memo” by 11:00 pm on Thursday, April 24, 2014.

See below for details about the show and how the contest works:

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Cheap Theatre for the Week of April 15, 2014

April 15th, 2014

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In this week’s episode of cheap theatre picks, we’re taking a look at human relationships – husbands and wives, parents and offspring, significant others, and best friends. Relationships gone awry, relationships rekindled, relationships….back from the dead! Watch the story unfold by grabbing a ticket or two for some incredible theatre this week, all for $20 or under. We guarantee, you won’t be disappointed! (Guarantee not an actual guarantee)

And for a bonus pick this week, we’ve thrown in a show you can experience for free. Yes, free! Happy theatre-ing!

Play Listings for the Week of April 14, 2014

April 14th, 2014

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Here is what’s going on in Toronto theatre this week. There are several great shows to catch for the week of April 14th, 2014. ** Shows marked with the double asterisks and in red are the ones that make Wayne, our Managing Editor, wishes he could exist in multiple parallel universes so he could check them all out.

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Review: Shadows (Parry Riposte Productions / Videofag)

April 13th, 2014

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Shadows

Shadows is a sexy, smoldering play about ill-fated love playing at Toronto’s Videofag

Everything in Shadows is on fire. The lovers burn for each other; their careers and relationships with others smolder, crackle, and occasionally burst into flames; and practically the entire world they inhabit–long, flowing costume gowns; dressing rooms with crepe-paper walls; a Connecticut cabin with a well-stocked wine cellar; and the ever-present newspapers–will immolate in mere seconds. All it would take is a single ill-aimed spark.

Margo MacDonald’s play is a love letter to so many things (these actors, repertory theatre, the fun to be had in secrets…) that this script could have run off in all directions, but luckily she’s found (with the help of a little creative license) two figures sufficiently interesting to bind them together. Eva La Gallienne, an actor so well-established and connected that she runs a theatre devoted essentially to her own whims; and her lover of 7 years, Josephine “Jo” Hutchison, playing juveniles and ingenues into her 30s, yet keenly aware that nothing of her world is permanent.

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Review: Burn This (Sterling Studio Theatre)

April 13th, 2014

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Burn This takes a look at personal identity and relationships playing at Toronto’s Sterling Studio Theatre

Wednesday night was my second experience with Sterling Studio Theatre. I enjoyed their production of Specter so much that I was really looking forward to seeing their preview performance of Lanford Wilson’s play Burn This. An interesting space, I wondered what they would do with it this time.

Burn This begins shortly after the funeral of Robby, a gay dancer who drowned in a boating accident with his boyfriend. Set in a Manhattan loft shared by Robby’s roommates Anna; his dance partner and choreographer, and Larry; who works in advertising, Burn This is about reconsidering identity and relationships. Pale, Robby’s older brother, forces everyone to make sense of their lives when he bursts on the scene.

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Review: Belleville (The Company Theatre/Canadian Stage)

April 12th, 2014

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belleville_7

The Company Theatre presents Allan Hawco in Amy Herzog’s play Belleville at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre

I’ve always been perplexed by people who marry in their early twenties. When you’re young, naïve, insecure and haven’t spent enough time figuring out who you really are or what you really want, isn’t it sort of an inadvisable time to get hitched? Belleville, produced by Company Theatre and Canadian Stage, is a new play by American playwright Amy Herzog which looks at the repercussions of settling down before finding yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Sawah (Arabesque)

April 11th, 2014

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Sawah brings Middle Eastern music, dance and culture to the Fleck Dance Studio in Toronto

I try my best to stay away from descriptive words that have become horribly clichéd. But when it comes to certain art forms, in particular dance and music, I find myself at a loss for words and revert back to the classic yet overused. Case in point, for me, would be belly dance and Arabic music. As a westernized Chinese woman, I’m far from a connoisseur of Middle Eastern culture but nonetheless I’m drawn to its beauty and mystery. There’s a strong sense of sensuality, exoticism, and allure that I find captivating. It was just enough for me to acquire a couple coin scarves myself and sign up for belly dance classes at my local gym.

When I heard that Arabesque would be performing Sawah (which translates to “wanderer” in Arabic), an immersive experience of Arabic music and dance, this weekend at the Fleck Dance Theatre, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a bit of escapism.

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Review: Trudeau and the FLQ (Videocabaret)

April 11th, 2014

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Canadian history as seen through comic book lenses, Videocabaret presents Trudeau and the FLQ

As we walked home after Trudeau and the FLQ, my guest turned to me, energized and excited.

“So this is the Jack Nicholson Joker fever-dream version of Canadian history.”
“Pretty much, yes.”

Trudeau and the FLQ is best described as a series of living editorial cartoons. Short vignettes, none longer than 2-3 minutes, depicting significant events, private moments, public revelations and occasional blowups in Canadian history. The cast moves at alarming speed through over 10 years of history, stopping to smell the roses, drink the cognac and drop the acid as they go.

We see Pierre Elliot Trudeau rise from philosophy professor to public intellectual to Minister of Justice to Prime Minister. We see the FLQ form, germinate, and start kidnapping cabinet ministers. And in this comic-book world of lurid colour and mounties in drag, we see Canada forming despite it all.

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Review: Soliciting Temptation (Tarragon Theatre)

April 11th, 2014

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Tarragon Theater/ Soliciting Temptations

The dark world of the sex trade comes to light in Soliciting Temptation playing at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre

Soliciting Temptation, playing now at Tarragon, pits an aging business man with a taste for young flesh against a fiercely ideological university student, both from North America, in the slums of an unnamed developing country. The context is sex tourism, specifically youth sex tourism. The man has hired the girl for the night, believing her to be local and younger than she is. She is posing as a sex worker, and as underage, in order to torment whatever man engages her for the evening. Read the rest of this entry »